Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Humanist Approach to Prison Life

Now that implementation of the modified policy has been explored, it is crucial to understand and proceed in pinpointing the ways in which we will monitor and evaluate this new policy. We will use specific methods of monitoring and evaluating, expressed in Westhues book, "Canadian Social Policy, in order to measure the progress of our policy and program. The humanist approach is the approach that we will use in order to monitor and evaluate the progress of our policy and program within the prison system.
In order to monitor and evaluate the progress of the Commissioner’s Directive 800 policy we will approach the process from a humanist perspective. By approaching the monitoring from this angle we will focus on qualitative research as opposed to quantitative. Unlike quantitative research we believe that we will be able to gain greater insight into the program and people affected, through the gathering of qualitative research. Our monitoring will be a hands on process, which means the researcher will serve as an advocate for change, rather that measuring progress like a positivist, who would use information simply for assessment purposes (Westhues, 2006). Lastly, our humanist approach would allow for goals that encourage self-determination, which is directly in line with our goals in terms of transgender surgeries. This self-determination would finally put power into the hands of the transgender individuals, something that has been distinctly lacking for this community thus far.
Evaluating our policy and program will be achieved through outcome evaluations. Is our program having the desired effect? Using a humanist approach we will focus on the achievements of the individual; we will look at the goals of the people within the program. Cost-benefit analysis will be used by attaching a monetary value to the benefits afforded the Trans individuals. A process evaluation will be used to gain insight into how the program is operating. Is it operating how we intended this program to operate? Are the intended services being delivered to the desired population? All of these answers will be answered within this process evaluation by using client satisfaction surveys.
Monitoring and evaluating is a critical part of the process when initiating policy changes. Pros and cons, that were not anticipated, will surface throughout the life span of the policy and program. Through monitoring and evaluating we will be able to modify our policy in order to achieve the best result for our population of transgender inmates. By understanding that policies need constant re-evaluation we will be able to better meet the needs of the anticipated clients, including incarcerated transgendered individuals.

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